The new anti-aircraft missile system 98Р6Е “Abakan”

The features of the highly specialized anti-aircraft complex of the Russian design “Abakan”, capable of withstanding ballistic missiles, have become known. At the same time, the new air defense system is as automated as possible. It is analogous to the well-proven Israeli Iron Dome system

SAM is not strategic, and this is emphasized by its developers. “Abakan” is not a competitor to the S-300 and S-400. This is a highly specialized system, and this is its main feature. The tasks of “Abakan” include the interception of operational-tactical ballistic missiles, as well as hypersonic targets, for other targets it does not work as efficiently.

The anti-aircraft missile system ZRK 98R6E “Abakan” used missiles from one air defense system, and the radar from another. When creating it, the developers took missiles from the Antey-4000 anti-aircraft system and a radar station from one of the promising anti-aircraft systems. Which one is not disclosed. This combination made it possible to make “Abakan” unique in its characteristics.

The future customer of the complex was one of the countries of the Middle East. It required specific characteristics. A multifunctional complex of the S-400 or S-500 type was not required. The order was for a highly specialized anti-aircraft complex capable of fighting ballistic targets.

Moreover, it had to be as automated as possible. Russian developers from “Almaz-Antey” managed to create in a short time the air defense system “Abakan”. It fully meets the requirements of the customer. The complex is designed to combat single-stage missiles with a speed of up to 3 km per second.

The air defense missile system is capable of hitting targets at an altitude of 25 km and a range of up to 45 km. The complex can be easily integrated into any anti-missile system and can operate both autonomously and in conjunction with other air defense systems.

Part of a bigger system

The complex was created to work in tandem with Russian long-range anti-aircraft missile systems. Its task is to supplement them. It is designed to help can create a modular air defense system. It is known that the same S-400 has a limited number of launchers, and if you borrow a certain number of missiles to intercept complex targets, then the number of ammunition for intercepting conventional targets will already be less than required.

Here “Abakan” will come to the rescue, which will deal with complex ballistic targets. The complex is capable of destroying both modern and advanced non-strategic ballistic missiles in the air.   Also, “Abakan” can work in conjunction with foreign anti-aircraft missile systems. Any country can expand the capabilities of its air defense-missile defense system with the help of “Abakan”.

The combination of S-400 and “Abakan” is becoming especially relevant. This takes place in the context of a bet on the so-called oversaturation of air defense/missile defense. It is when a large number of objects are simultaneously attacked. This is most clearly seen in the technology of “drone swarm” being created in many developed countries. It theoretically can break through almost any air defense, since there are not enough missiles for all these kamikaze drones and attack drones.

Similar to the Israeli Iron Dome 

“Abakan” can work not only in conjunction with other air defense systems, but also independently. The complex is capable of performing tasks that are inherent in such a tactical missile defense complex as the Israeli Iron Dome. Experts call the new Russian air defense system a universal air defense-missile defense system, which can be used to protect important military-industrial facilities, including command posts, from enemy strike weapons.

For the first time, the Abakan air defense missile system was presented at the international exhibition Dubai Airshow 2021, held in the United Arab Emirates in November this year.

Russia and India signed documents on military cooperation

Russia and India have signed several documents on small arms and military cooperation, Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said on Twitter.

“I am glad that a number of agreements, contracts and protocols have been signed regarding small arms and military cooperation,” the Indian minister wrote.

However, he added that India “appreciates the strong support of Russia.” “We hope that our cooperation will bring peace, prosperity and stability to the entire region,” Singh said.

On December 6, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced the beginning in New Delhi of a meeting of the Russian-Indian intergovernmental commission on military and military-technical cooperation with the participation of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. During the meeting, he noted that India is one of the key partners of Russia in the defense sphere, and relations between the countries are of a “particularly privileged strategic nature.”

“The unprecedented level of trust between our countries is evidenced by the intensity and depth of military-technical cooperation, which is reaching a new qualitative level every year,” the Russian Defense Minister said.

On December 6, the Ministry of Defense announced the signing of an agreement between the governments of the two countries on a program of military-technical cooperation until 2030. The document implies cooperation of the branches and arms of the armed forces, and includes the supply and development of weapons and military equipment.

On November 14, the director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) of Russia, Dmitry Shugaev, announced the start of supplies to India of equipment for S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems. The contract for the supply of the complexes was signed in 2016. India became the third foreign buyer of these complexes after China and Turkey.

Why India and Russia need an alliance?

Before gaining independence, India was a colony of Great Britain. After World War II, when the Cold War broke out between the USSR and the United States, India chose neutrality. Along with Egypt and Cuba, she joined the Non-Aligned Movement.

At the same time, the Indians had rather close relations with the USSR. Soviet Union provided significant military assistance to India under Khrushchev during the Indo-Chinese conflict. And despite the fact that China was a communist country and Moscow’s ally in the Cold War. In the same 1960s, Moscow supported New Delhi in a dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir. Moreover, it was with the participation of Chairman of the Council of Ministers Kosygin that the Second Indo-Pakistani War was stopped. The declaration on January 10, 1966 on the cessation of fighting was signed in Tashkent.

India is trying to pursue the same course of non-alignment today. 

However, just as then, geopolitical realities – lingering rivalries with China and Pakistan – are forcing Indians to seek strong allies. In this sense, India has little choice: the United States, the European Union and Russia. Europe could be a mainstay, but traditionally tries not to get involved in the battle of the titans. Even in the US-Russian confrontation, the Europeans are calling for a reduction in the intensity of passions, and by the way, they recently challenged the conclusions of the US intelligence about the alleged Russian invasion. The EU has close economic ties with China. Plus the EU is a very heterogeneous structure. France is now offended by the Anglo-Saxons because of the anti-Chinese AUKUS. Germany is very modest in foreign policy.

As for the United States itself, this would be a very convenient option for India. The United States is now actively opposing China. Both economically and through military alliances. India participates in the QUAD alliance and is conducting naval exercises in the Indian Ocean with the United States, Japan and Australia. The last of them, in October, became the largest in 40 years. Only the whole snag of the alliance with Washington for New Delhi is that the Americans demand complete submission . The United States literally prohibits India from buying S-400 air defense systems from Russia. It is threatening it with sanctions, as was the case with Turkey.

Unique partners

Russia is for India, if not the only, then at least a unique partner. Unlike the United States, it will not oppose China. But at the same time the Russian Federation is selling weapons to India. That helps maintain the balance of power in Asia. It is thanks to Russian efforts that India and China are now full members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Can you imagine joint military exercises between Indians and Chinese under the auspices of the Pentagon? Of course not. But almost such exercises took place this year! In September, 200 Indian military personnel, as well as Chinese and Pakistani observers, took part in the Russian-Belarusian maneuvers “West-2021”.

Russia is trying to bring China and India closer together economically. Within the BRICS format, there is a joint pool of reserve currencies, which helps to strengthen the financial sovereignty of the five countries. Russia is strengthening India’s defenses and working to reduce its conflict with China. Separately, it is also worth mentioning the North-South project, leading from Russia to India and vice versa. That will enhance trade opportunities and macro-regional significance of both countries.

For Russia lations with India must be strengthened. This enhances its role in Asia. It strengthens its cards in front of the United States. And, in a good sense of the word, allows it to balance the growing China. After all, an alliance with India is good money. For 30 years, the supply of aircraft, tanks and Kalashnikovs alone increased the Russian budget by $ 60 billion.

India does not hide interest in the Arctic

Often, when referring to the Northern Sea Route (NSR), one can hear the definition that this is the “Russian way to India.” Indeed, the NSR is the shortest and safest access to the powerful, developing market of this vast country.

No pipe, even the widest in diameter, can meet India’s oil and gas needs. But shipping by sea is a different matter. It seems that India has been eyeing alternative routes for a long time to ensure its energy security. For Russian gas and oil companies, a partner such as India will help diversify the markets for minerals.

The development of the Arctic for New Delhi is also a matter of constant competition with another global player in the region. With China, which has already laid the foundation for the third icebreaker in the “Snow Dragons” series. India is trying to keep up. It is known that she has been eyeing the Russian project 21180 (M) icebreakers for a long time. These auxiliary diesel-electric icebreakers of a new type with a powerful energy complex and a modern propeller electric installation of Russian production are assessed by the Indians as ships with enhanced functionality. They are able to mill ice up to 1.5 meters.

In terms of displacement, they correspond to the Norwegian patrol icebreaker Svalbard. However, the practice of military-technical cooperation between India and Russia shows that New Delhi trusts more Russian developers and shipbuilders. That is more than once expressed in mutually beneficial and long-term contracts. The project 21180 icebreaker “Ilya Muromets” became the first icebreaker in 45 years, created exclusively for the needs of the Russian Navy. It is part of the Northern Fleet.

Proven partnership over the years

The reincarnation of the aircraft-carrying cruiser Admiral Gorshkov took place in Severodvinsk. With the active participation of the Nevsky Design Bureau, thanks to India. Russian shipbuilders have gained unique experience in the implementation of such global tasks. The Indian order made it possible to actually upgrade the Russian MiG-29K carrier-based fighter to the 4 ++ level.

Today MIG-29K meets all modern requirements for carrier-based aircraft. It is unobtrusive – 20% of the aircraft are assembled from non-metallic composite materials. To reduce visibility in the infrared range, the “cooled wing” technology has been implemented.

The fighter is equipped with the latest avionics, infrared target finder, guidance of close air-to-air missiles by turning the pilot’s head. The new radar “Zhuk-ME”, installed on board, finds targets at a distance of 200 km. With its help, guidance is carried out with corrected bombs and medium-range missiles.

Although the MiG-29K has a shorter range and payload than the Su-33, it is more compact. Thanks to the money of the Indians, is deeply modernized relative to the original Soviet projects MiG-29K and Su-33.

MiG-29KUB. 
Photo: Rulexip / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Military cooperation is being transformed into the Arctic Cooperation between Moscow and New Delhi. It continues not only in the military, but also in the oil and gas sector. This may allow India to become the first non-Arctic state to extract resources in the Arctic. 

Russian-Indian cooperation in geological exploration and joint development of oil and gas fields, including offshore projects, is rapidly developing. Indian companies are involved in the development of oil and gas fields within the Sakhalin-1 project and the Vankor oil and gas condensate field. It is worth noting that Rosneft is a shareholder in the large Indian oil refinery Vadinar.

Is China jealous?

Improving the delivery of Russian energy resources to Indian partners is also a priority. China is very jealous of India’s admission to the region. At the same time, the economic potentials of India and China differ.

China, in addition to having ice-class ships, has long been active in investing in infrastructure energy projects in the Arctic. India in this sense lags far behind. And it’s not just New Delhi’s caution. There are players who constantly distract India from projects that are profitable for it.

India has a clearly positive image in the Arctic G8. In addition, India has lobbying opportunities for a representative diaspora in the Arctic countries. Especially in the United States and Canada. Weak investment activity of Indian business structures is a profitable business.

Chasing two hares

India has long surpassed Japan and has become the third largest economy in the world, calculated in purchasing power parity terms. The consumption of hydrocarbons is growing every year.

According to the forecasts of the International Energy Agency, India will become the third country in the world in terms of energy consumption by 2030. Due to the lack of its own sources of primary energy, the country will increase their imports. And she is going to do this, taking the most active part in the development of polar resources. In any case, there is such a desire.

In this sense, Russia for India is a guarantee of colossal investments. The only problem is the inconsistency of the concepts of the development of the civil and military navy. It’s like chasing two birds with one stone. On the one hand, India does not want to lag behind China in the Arctic. But on the other hand, it is implementing an ambitious maritime strategy. The goal of which is to turn the country into the main power in the Indian Ocean.

Does India have enough finance, especially considering that the United States is increasingly engaging India in a clash with China through a four-sided military bloc, the so-called Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD), which also includes Japan and Australia. Will India have time for the Arctic if it is drawn into the war?

The US is indeed purposefully luring India into a trap from which the Asian giant simply cannot emerge victorious. Indeed, Pakistan will take the side of China in the event of an escalation of the regional conflict. And a conflict between nuclear-weapon states can easily escalate into a nuclear catastrophe. This is already fraught with stability on the planet, but do such little things worry the hawks in Washington …

Divide and conquer

The development of the Arctic by India is postponed every time the word “Aksaychin” appears on the world agenda. A region of confrontation between India and China. Two powers that more than others can influence the radical redistribution of world resources. Can the United States allow such “gluttonous” countries, in the opinion of the Yankees, to approach the division of Arctic resources? The question is rhetorical.

The United States can say whatever it wants in the Congress, but the Americans will not allow the strengthening of the influence of China and the supposedly allied India in the Arctic. Their true desire is for India and China to moderate their ambitions. For this, Washington is making every effort to play off Beijing and New Delhi in a senseless duel. That is obviously disadvantageous for both countries.

China and Europe open competition for Russian gas

The infrastructure for the delivery of energy resources from the Russian Federation to the EU is much larger than in the case of export to the “Celestial Empire”, but Beijing’s prospects are more serious

The period of construction of new gas pipelines from Russia to Europe is almost over. However, in the eastern direction this process will continue further. Does this mean that the EU should worry about the presence of Russian gas in the near future, which may “migrate” to Asia?

China, Mongolia and Russia are developing a new Soyuz Vostok gas pipeline. It will stretch from the Russian Federation to Asian countries. According to Deputy Prime Minister of Mongolia Sainbuyangiin Amarsaykhan, the construction of such a highway can begin in three years.

In essence, we are talking about the creation of Power of Siberia-2. It will even more open the doors of the Chinese energy market for Russian pipeline gas. Talks about a new additional highway to the PRC through Mongolia were conducted back in 2019. It was not entirely clear then whether such a project would be implemented or not.

Now it became clear that the highway will be built for sure. The only question is when and under what conditions. This automatically makes it impossible to increase energy supplies to the EU countries.

It would be a great exaggeration and dilettantism to say that all Russian gas intended for the Old World may eventually migrate to the “Celestial Empire” and other Asian countries. Alas, the infrastructure for delivering energy from Russia to Europe is much more serious than for exporting to China. However, this does not mean at all that the European Union has nothing to worry about. The EU countries will still have problems with the purchase of gas from the Russian Federation. Power of Siberia-2, as an unpleasant bonus, will make them even more serious.

Will China take everything for itself or is it a myth?

Even before the construction of Power of Siberia, however, as well as after its launch in December 2019, many European politicians and experts, even from Asia, said that this project would be a failure.

Power of Siberia will not immediately reach its design capacity in terms of deliveries of 38 billion cubic meters per year. Last year, the contract provided for pumping only 5 billion cubic meters to China. Compared to the volume of gas exports from Russia to Europe, these are crumbs.

Recall that even in 2020, when due to COVID-19 energy consumption in the Old World was minimal, the supply of “blue fuel” from Russia to Europe, including Turkey, amounted to 135.75 billion cubic meters ( data from Gazprom Export).

The past months of 2021 also showed that the volumes of pipeline gas supplies to China are incomparable with those to Europe. The volumes of Russian gas pumped to Gazprom’s main customers in the first quarter of 2021 set a 3-year record. The company supplied 52.7 billion cubic meters to Europe.

Gazprom needs to agree on guaranteed export volumes with China. This is a topic for bargaining for several years. Then you need to sign a transit agreement with Mongolia. If everything goes well, construction will start only in 2024. That means that gas will not flow through this pipeline soon.

It will eventually pump even more than the first gas pipeline to China. In November of this year, the management of PJSC Gazprom even announced that the export capacity of Power of Siberia-2 could exceed the capacity of the first Russian gas pipeline to China by more than 1.3 times.

The dragon from the east cannot be underestimated

The volume of Russian gas supplies clearly speaks in favor of Europe – the current 135.75 billion cubic meters to the EU versus the potential 88 billion to China, and these figures will not appear in a year or two, or even in 5 years.

It would seem, why should the European Union worry? Alas, there really is a reason. The problem is that there are growth prospects for Russian gas exports to China, but in the case of supplies to the EU, they no longer.

Even in the coronavirus-crisis year 2020, when the world first faced the COVID-19 pandemic and reduced energy consumption, the average price of Russian gas in China was $ 150.2 per 1,000 cubic meters. For comparison: in the same year, the average export price of Gazprom to non-CIS countries, including Europe, was $ 143 per 1,000 cubic meters.

China loves to bargain with Russia no less than Europe. Sometimes it is even more difficult to agree on the volume of supplies and the price. The question remains open whether Russia will be able to attract Chinese capital to finance the construction of the Soyuz Vostok.

In the long term, the government and business of the PRC will be glad to increase purchases of gas from the Russian Federation. This became clear especially now, when, during the global energy crisis, it became clear that solar panels and wind energy cannot normally supply the “Celestial Empire” with electricity in adverse weather, which means that a safety net is needed – gas.

The prospects for increasing Russian energy supplies to the EU are very vague. It seems that there have been more gas pipelines in recent years. Nord Stream, Turkish Stream, Nord Stream-2. For some reason there is not enough gas in the Old World, especially now during the energy crisis.

Which one is more attractive?

Russia uses new lines, but at the same time reduces the volume of pumping on old lines. For example, if in 2019 92.3 billion cubic meters were sent to Ukraine (for the transit of part of this volume to the EU), then in 2020 only 55.7 billion cubic meters. The decrease in the volume of pumping through the Ukrainian pipe, in fact, turned out to be surprisingly equal to the size of the throughput of the Turkish Stream.

“At first glance, the European direction of gas exports does not seem as attractive to Russia as the eastern one (China). The reason for this is the active decarbonization process in the EU, coupled with cross-border carbon regulation, which will come into force as early as 2023. The value of the cross-border carbon tax for Russian companies are estimated at approximately $ 3-4.8 billion a year.

LNG from Russia is a lifeline for the EU, however expensive

It should be admitted that despite future difficulties with the supply of pipeline “blue fuel” from the Russian Federation, Europe can safely hope for the import of liquefied gas.

The specifics of LNG trade in the world economy today is such that this product, in contrast to gas pipelines, is more mobile. It is from the mains that the energy carrier gets from point “A” to point “B” and nothing else. But a liquefied gas tanker can always be rerouted from one port to another, where they will pay more for LNG at the moment.

This is clearly seen in the example of the supply of liquefied gas from the United States, which Europe was counting on in 2021, but most of these volumes eventually went to Asia – to a region where LNG was offered at a higher price than in the Old World.

Tajikistan emerges as Taliban’s new nemesis

Tensions between Dushanbe and Kabul will remain high until the Taliban forms a truly inclusive government

By NIKOLA MIKOVIC

With a growing hub of Afghan resistance figures and political exiles, Tajikistan has emerged as the primary foreign power ready to face down the new Taliban government. Reports of a push to form an alternative Afghan administration in the Tajik capital Dushanbe will only deepen hostilities between the neighbors.

Since the Taliban stormed Kabul, the militant group and Tajikistan have not lost time in trading threats. The Taliban accused Tajikistan of interfering in the internal affairs of Afghanistan. Kabul moved its special forces to their vast shared border. Tajikistan had already deployed 20,000 additional troops to the frontier. It also conducted a nationwide military drill involving 230,000 service personnel.

While a full-scale military confrontation remains unlikely, the tensions allow Russia to exert further influence over the region through a mediation role between the former Soviet republic and Kabul’s new rulers. Meanwhile, the saber-rattling from Tajikistan also reflects the domestic position of long-serving president Emomali Rahmon.

Tajikistan is one of the few neighbors of Afghanistan that have openly stated that they do not intend to recognize a Taliban government “formed through oppression.” President Rahmon has repeatedly criticized the Taliban for their actions. He demanded more rights for Tajiks in Afghanistan. They are the largest ethnic group in the country after Pashtuns.

Tajikistan has also made no secret of its support for the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan. It is the only force opposing the Taliban, in Panjshir province. The majority of the population of Panjshir is also ethnic-Tajik.

Growing number of Afghan exiles in Dushanbe

After the Taliban launched an assault on the valley, resistance leader Ahmad Massoud and former vice-president Amrullah Saleh fled their final holdout for Dushanbe. There they joined a growing number of Afghan exiles plotting their next steps.

Complicating matters for President Rahmon, however, is that not all Tajiks look to Tajikistan for support.

A number of Afghan Tajiks have already sided with the Taliban. Authorities in Dushanbe fear that Afghanistan’s new rulers could use Jamaat Ansarullah. It is a militant group founded in Afghanistan by Tajik national Amriddin Tabarov in 2010. They might be used as a force against Tajikistan.

Tajik officials have said on several occasions that some of the Taliban-controlled gangs consisting of ethnic Tajiks are “ready to invade Tajikistan.” The Taliban rejected such reports, saying that no group would be given permission to launch an attack on any of Afghanistan’s neighbors. 

Tajikistan does not seem to trust the new authorities in Kabul. The country recently conducted joint military exercises with its ally Russia and other members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). All along the 1,400-kilometer Tajik-Afghan border.

Tajikistan is Afghanistan’s smallest neighbor and the poorest country in Central Asia. As such, it represents a relatively easy target for the Taliban. Still, the Afghan group is unlikely to attack a CSTO member. It would have a serious impact on relations with Russia. 

Tajikistan’s tough position regarding the Taliban was almost certainly coordinated with Moscow. However, the Kremlin seems to play a double game in Afghanistan. Russia held several meetings with Taliban leaders, and unlike many Western countries, it never closed its embassy in Kabul.

No recognition of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan by Russia

Yet the Kremlin still refuses to remove the radical group from its list of terrorist organizations. Let alone to recognize the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. Russia is actively arming Tajikistan and sending additional troops and military equipment to its base there.

Such a policy could allow Moscow to increase its influence in Central Asia. It might become one of the key players in post-American Afghanistan. If, however, the Taliban or their proxies eventually launch an incursion into Tajikistan, Russia would have no option but to provide full support to its ally.

For the Kremlin, a destabilization of Tajikistan could have a serious impact on Russia, which is the major destination for Tajik migrant workers.

More important, Russia has a Muslim population of 25 million and has an interest in them following a traditional form of Islam, rather than an extreme version like the one fueling the Taliban. That is why Moscow strongly supports Rahmon and his policy of active secularism in Tajikistan.

Taliban is accusing Tajikistan of interfering in Afghan internal affairs

The Tajik leader is reportedly preparing the ground for the transfer of powers to his son. Until Rustam Emomali, or some other figure, takes the helm of the country, Emomali Rahmon – who has ruled Tajikistan for 30 years – will unite the Tajik people against “the Taliban threat.” That is why Dushanbe will continue to support opponents of the Taliban openly.

Taliban’s acting first deputy prime minister accused Tajikistan of interfering in Afghan internal affairs, pointing out that “for every action there is a reaction.”

Indeed, Tajikistan firmly insists on the formation of an inclusive government in Kabul. It should protect the interests of ethnic Tajiks in Afghanistan. Until such a government is formed, Tajikistan is expected to keep treating the Taliban as a terrorist organization. Tensions between Dushanbe and Kabul will remain high.

This article was provided by Syndication Bureauwhich holds copyright.

NIKOLA MIKOVIC

Nikola Mikovic

is a political analyst in Serbia. His work focuses mostly on the foreign policies of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, with special attention on energy and “pipeline politics.”

China hopes Russian coal will help fill energy shortages

Key points

– The Suifenhe railway junction in northeastern Heilongjiang province is improving logistics as coal supplies increase.

– Electricity supplies from Russia to China through the Amurskaya-Heihe power transmission line tripled last week.

China is trying to solve the problem of electricity shortages, and in this it has been helped by Russia. Russia is increasing its exports of coal and electricity, as reported by state media and government departments.

The Chinese customs administration said Wednesday that total coal purchases in September increased 17% to 32.9 million tonnes, the highest in a year. The government is making further efforts to ensure a stable supply of energy resources before the winter peak in demand.

Fueled by fuel shortages and record high prices, the energy crisis has forced the government to take various measures to increase coal production and regulate electricity demand. Electricity rationing measures have been introduced in some provinces.

From October 1 to October 7, more than 5,000 tons of coal were transported through this hub every day.

Last week, the Chinese state-owned electricity company said that the supply of electricity from Russia to China through the Amurskaya-Heihe transmission line had been increased from five to 16 hours a day.

On Sunday, over 50,000 tons of coal were also delivered to China’s eastern province of Zhejiang.

The energy crisis in China and Europe has demonstrated that the transition from fossil fuels to green energy has turned out to be much more difficult and time-consuming than many expected.

For the foreseeable future, there are simply no real alternatives to coal and gas as the main sources of electricity and heating.

Energy alliance between Moscow and Beijing

The energy shortage in China should strengthen the energy alliance between Moscow and Beijing. Russia is China’s closest external source of coal, gas and oil. Beijing may give the go-ahead for the construction of the Power of Siberia-2 gas pipeline. Through that Russian gas from Western Siberia will be supplied to China via Mongolia. “

There are several reasons for China’s electricity shortage. One is that coal prices are not regulated. However, electricity prices are regulated. That makes generating companies reluctant to get involved in generating electricity as it gives them less profit.

Foreign companies are sounding the alarm over the deficit. Representatives of the European Union Chamber of Commerce said that firms sometimes receive notifications in just an hour about the need to redistribute shifts. And this is in enterprises where a thousand people work. “We need to better communicate with the government to help our companies cope with problems,” said Jörg Wuttke, head of the chamber. – We are not asking for privileges. We just want clarity. “

The Chamber of Commerce has asked the authorities to reconsider their decisions on which companies should cut or stop production. They are urging them to take a “scientific, transparent approach” and better communicate their decisions.

Is Shoigu most probable Vladimir Putin’s heir?

Sergei Shoigu was extremely popular even before Putin appeared on the arena, and in his native Tuva, some consider him the reincarnation of a mythical military leader

For the first time, Vladimir Putin was elected Russian president quite a long time ago – in 2000. The world was different then. Russia, of course, was no exception. This was even before the terrorist attacks on the United States, which marked the beginning of the American invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq and greatly influenced not only geopolitics, but also further relations between Moscow and Washington. In those early days and years of Putin’s mandate, relations between Russia and the United States, especially when compared with the present, could even be called idyllic.

Of course, they weren’t perfect. But then US viewed Russia as a country that no longer poses a threat, as it did during the Cold War. Moreover, the United States saw Russia as a new economic partner and a new sales market. For ordinary Russian citizens, this meant the end of the so-called shock doctrine. Or apparent transition from socialism to capitalism. By the very nature of the new system, a small part of people became fabulously rich and influential (oligarchs). However, most of the people slipped down into poverty.

The first Russian president after the collapse of the USSR, Boris Yeltsin, did a lot for such a Russian future. The West was pleased, although it understood that Boris was not a “stable” leader. When his two mandates ended, it was time to look for an heir. He found him in his close associate, Vladimir Putin, who was then (in 1999) 47 years old.

West was happy with Putin winning against Communist candidate Zyuganov

As the Kremlin’s “elect”, Putin easily won the election in the first round, receiving 53.4% ​​of the vote. At the time, no one in the West asked whether these elections were “democratic and fair”. In the West, they were happy that Putin had won, and not his rival Gennady Zyuganov of the Communist Party, who came in second with 29.5% of the vote.

The tense relations between Russia and the United States as we know them today developed later. It all started when Putin “came up with an idea” to revive Russia and make sure that his country, even if it is capitalist now, does not serve exclusively as a place of Western interests. Tensions increased even more when Russia openly supported Syria a decade ago (the West listed it for “regime change”). Since 2015, Russia has been providing it with direct military support. Of course, the escalation reached its peak due to the Ukrainian crisis and the Russian withdrawal of Crimea in 2014.

Since then, we have seen only further divergence. Return to quasi-idyllic times can hardly be expected. The maximum that can be expected in a positive sense is the establishment of certain pragmatic relations, which will become possible, probably, when the international position of the United States is further weakened (today, after the withdrawal of the Americans from Afghanistan, we are apparently witnessing this) …

After many years, Putin remained the president of the Russian Federation. In principle, he remained in power since 2000, although from 2008 to 2012 he served as prime minister. Dmitry Medvedev was president for four years. But it is clear that Medvedev was only “holding the seat” for Putin and his return to the presidency.

Will Putin stay in power till he is 83?

Today, Putin has further consolidated his power by changing the constitution. It theoretically allows him to remain in power until 2036. Now Vladimir Putin is 68 years old, that is, in 2036 he will be 83. Is he really planning to rule for so long?

There are those who believe that it is likely that Putin will choose an heir instead of reigning himself until 2036. He himself never publicly announced the names of possible successors. For many years, a variety of assumptions have been made about who this could be. Over time, the names change, but for quite some time now one sounds more often than others. We are talking about a close associate of Putin, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

Shoigu may well become a successor. Because, among other things, he is the second most popular politician in the Russian domestic political arena after Putin

In addition, Shoigu is a very unusual person in the Russian political elite. Despite his name, which sounds in Russian, he has an interesting background. He comes from the Russian Republic of Tuva. Republic is located on the border with Mongolia. Of course, this is an exotic part of Russia. Shoigu is one of the few representatives of Russian ethnic minorities with such a high position. Before becoming Minister of Defense, he headed the Moscow Region.

The name of Sergei Shoigu is undoubtedly heard today both in Russia and in the world. At a time when Russia is increasingly asserting itself in the international arena, the Minister of Defense is being spoken of more and more often. Therefore, the name of Sergei Shoigu is often heard in connection with the war in Syria, where Russia played a key role, as well as in connection with recent peace missions (Nagorno-Karabakh and the Central African Republic).

About Sergei Shoigu

In his native Tuva, Shoigu, of course, is considered a hero. It is interesting that some there consider him to be almost the reincarnation of Subedei, the famous Mongol military leader who devastated the territory of modern Russia and Ukraine eight centuries ago …

Shoigu began his career in the early 90s as head of the Ministry of Emergency Situations. For this reason alone, we can say that Shoigu is one of the “long-livers” in the Russian ruling circles. He was 36 years old when he became minister in 1991 (Shoigu was born on May 21, 1955). Immediately after taking office, he showed himself to be a very capable manager. He ran the ministry effectively and created an almost military structure and order there. Therefore, Shoigu enjoyed exceptional popularity in the early 90s, long before Putin became president.

Sergei Shoigu was born in the small town of Tyva Chadan. Population about nine thousand people. His father is an ethnic Tuvan Kuzhuget Shoigu. His mother is Russian, a native of Ukraine, Alexandra Yakovlevna. After leaving school in Tuva, he graduated from the Polytechnic Institute in Krasnoyarsk and became an engineer. For the next ten years, he worked on construction sites in different parts of the country. In the late 1980s, he entered politics and took a low position in a branch of the then ruling Communist Party.

In 1990 he came to Moscow and became Deputy Chairman of the State Committee of the RSFSR for Architecture and Construction. His appointment to the post of Minister of Emergency Situations brought him immense popularity, but his work and efficiency are behind this rise. Whatever happened: floods, earthquakes or terrorist attacks – Shoigu in any situation went to the place and did everything necessary.

He is certainly popular

Since the late 90s, he has been one of the leaders of the modern ruling United Russia party (at the time of its foundation it was called Unity). In 2000, Shoigu was not a deputy prime minister for long, but he started his main business a little less than ten years ago, when in 2012 he became (and remains to this day) defense minister (until then, he headed the Ministry of Emergency Situations).

Today, this man, of course, raises the popularity of the ruling party, which has been losing its supporters for some time now.

Undoubtedly, Putin has a favorite heir, which is practically necessary given that it would otherwise be chaotic if he dies suddenly. The name of the heir is kept in the strictest confidence and will definitely not be revealed while Putin is alive or until he declares that he is retiring.

Sergei Shoigu often appears with Putin during his break from politics. These two love to spend time in nature, hunting or relaxing in field conditions … Putin is in the foreground, but most often Defense Minister Shoigu stands behind him. Many people understand that these photos, which appear on the official pages of the Russian president, are not there by chance. Of course, the thought suggests itself that it is Sergei Shoigu who may become the one who is being talked about more and more, trying to look into the Russian future.